At 6:30 this morning, as the sun was rising, National Geographic Sea Lion entered The Dalles Lock, the seventh of the eight locks we will navigate on our way down river to Portland. As we left the lock chamber and approached the city of The Dalles there was a spectacular view of Mount Hood, with the city glowing in the foreground! After tying up to the dock and eating another hardy breakfast, it’s off to a very full day of exploration of this area of the Columbia River Gorge. First a view of the gorge from Rowena Crest, 700 feet above, followed by walks to and through Mosier Tunnels. Then off to lunch at the Grag Rat Hut, a drive around the “Fruit Loops” area, down to Hood River for a kite-boarding demonstration, finishing with a visit to the Columbia River Gorge Interpretive Center! What a Day!
National Geographic Sea Bird
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
In the morning, passengers aboard National Geographic Sea Bird visited the beautiful Multnomah Falls and the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. The falls, located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, provided a stunning backdrop for the excursion. Guests were thrilled to see the waterfall in person. It is considered one of the most beautiful and popular natural attractions in the region. The falls were particularly breathtaking due to recent rainfall in the area, which created a misty, ethereal atmosphere around the waterfall. Perhaps the most unbelievable part of the morning was the weather; many of us wore shorts as we admired the snowcapped peaks beneath warm, bluebird skies. After the falls, we navigated downhill toward the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. Named for the adventurous Benjamin Bonneville, the hatchery’s most famous inhabitant is a guy of adventure himself. Herman the Sturgeon is over 80 years old, and he has survived the construction of a dam, pollution, a kidnapping attempt, a stabbing, and even an explosion. Despite his age and hardships, Herman remains a beloved icon of the region, and efforts continue to protect and conserve his species. After a delicious lunch, we hiked the Mosier tunnels, where guests were excited to go birdwatching and learn about the rich history of the tunnels. Much like Herman the Sturgeon, those trapped in the tunnels during the blizzard of 1921 endured great hardships, but they, too, have become regional symbols. Soon after, the ship cruised toward Portland for disembarkation. As we made our way along the river, passengers were treated to stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the iconic Portland skyline. Naturalists Jesse Humbert and Larry Prussin provided commentary on the history and culture of the region, pointing out landmarks and answering questions from the passengers. As the ship drew closer to Portland and our expedition draws closer to its finale, the memories made on this final day are sure to stick with us for years to come.